There's a Globe report today, "The Big Bluff," on the massive $3.5 billion class action lawsuit against the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation on behalf of addicted gamblers. The crux of the suit has to do with self-exclusion forms which these gamblers have signed and the scope of the duty owed by OLG to enforce them. Enforcement has been pretty much non-existent, despite the claims here and the gamblers have continued to gamble, respectively, hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings, home equity, borrowed dollars, ruining thousands of lives in the process. It's a problem I'd never noticed, much less paid any attention to the issue of gambling in Ontario at all, until I met someone last year who has destroyed his life as a result of this very addiction yet who had signed one of these forms and tried to stop. A decent, hard working person who has lost just about everything. House, family, life savings.
As the blog post title states, while we don't know what the outcome of this novel suit will be, it is to be applauded in the hope that it will cause OLG to take steps to enforce these self-exclusion processes, by devoting people, resources and technology to the problem. While legally they may or may not be judged to owe that duty of care, morally they do and as a society we should do everything we can to encourage them to take responsibility for the tools of addiction that they provide.